Jeff Jensen
June 02, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Nearly two years after he began it, the impishly ingenious Daniel Clowes has finally completed Eightball: David Boring, a surreal triptych about a detached young man whose search for his feminine ideal is complicated by memories of an illicit teenage love and his mom’s camel-hump hairstyle. (No, that wasn’t a typo.) Even more curious is the plot, wherein this Freudian time bomb meets his ideal, loses her, gets shot in the head, recuperates on a secret island while the world may or may not be ending, and is accused of murder before a subversively happy ending. Clowes’ pulpy puzzle seems to be concerned with an artist’s tortured struggle with authenticity and influence, but given the tale’s rich, kaleidoscopic weirdness, who knows? Not for kids — and not the equal to Clowes’ previous work, the masterful Ghost WorldEightball is still a baffling delight. A-

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